Archive for the ‘Homosexuality’ Category

Watch and sign, read and listen. This is posted on the AllOut.org website (excerpt):

Feb. 29, 2012. They did it. Conservative lawmakers in Saint Petersburg just passed the notorious “propaganda” law to silence any reading, writing, speech or debate on anything “gay.”

The goal? To make LGBT people disappear.

Conservatives in St. Petersburg passed this “gay gag rule” despite condemnation from world leaders – and even the country’s own international treaty obligations respecting freedom of expression.

Petition to the Governor of St Petersburg.

This video is excellent and says it all without saying a single word.

Advertisements

Thanks to a member of my Camouflage Men Forum for posting the link.

Also, jokes aside for a moment, Mark Simpson has an excellent (and thought provoking AND still hilariously funny in a wonderful acerbic way) article on Being Banana Curious on his blog.

i-doThe supporters of Prop 8 to ban same sex marriage in California are now trying to get the existing marriages of people who married while it was legal forcibly annulled. See this article on [info]queeractivism

The California Courage Campaign reports that Ken Starr (of Clinton-Whitewater-Monica-Lewinsky infamy) & the Prop 8 Legal Defence Fund will present their case to the California Supreme Court starting on March 5, 2009 demanding that the Court void 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples that were legally performed between June 16 & November 4, 2008 in that state.

Americans can sign the online petition against this horrible move. Those who are not in USA cannot vote, but while I realise I am repeating myself, what you can do, if you haven’t already done so, is buy the “I Do” anthology to support Lambda Legal’s fight and to stop this evil.

The music for this video is better on the Vimeo site which has the same video but with a different music.

Spread the word!

Elisa Rolle has an absolutely excellent and wonderful blog, chocker block full of M/M book reviews. Not only that, she also posts eye candy, film reviews, recommendations, images, artists, book covers, and a whole host of other things. Her blog is a true treasure trove.

I am reposting here a brilliant commercial. I won’t say anything else about it, because you should watch it. It is understated, elegant, and absolutely poignant.

It is bloody well time that the US military goes the same way as the UK Forces and has complete equality, regardless of race, gender, and sexuality! No more don’t ask don’t tell, gays in the military should be allowd in all the Forces in the world. Sexuality has NOTHING to do with the ability to do the job. Any job.

Looking for information on how homosexuality is handled in the French Military Forces, I came across an excellent article by glbtq, Inc. The article is from 2004 and states that:

Attitudes and policies toward homosexuality and gay and lesbian personnel in European militaries vary widely. Several countries allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly and have granted them the same rights and privileges as their heterosexual counterparts. Other countries neither ban nor support gay and lesbian service members, and a small group continue to ban homosexual personnel outright.

The countries that have become most tolerant of homosexuality include the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway. The most restrictive include Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Countries such as Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Germany lie somewhere in between on the spectrum of acceptance of homosexuality in their respective military cultures.

Great Britain is a unique case. In 2000, it lifted its long-standing ban on gay and lesbian service members, falling into line with the other Northern European countries. Yet many scholars and military officials have long characterized the British military as inhospitable to sexual minorities.

Now, while I would like to see the sources for the “many scholars and military officials” (sorry, academic here, don’t tell me a sweeping “many”, give me proof) glbtq then goes on to suggest that there seems to be “a trend toward ever greater integration of homosexuals in the military”. Something I certainly agree with. I so also agree with the general notion of the British Forces not necessarily being an inclusive place regarding the attitude of personnel, but I shall explore this in another post about a “kind of insider view”. Stay tuned.

I am a bit surprised regarding Germany (remember, though, the article is from 2004 and things might have changed since) and I promise to look into this. After all, I do speak that language fluently. 😉 There shall be a later post that looks more closely at countries’ militaries and their legal stance on homosexuality.

Photo © copyright its owner, without permission.

This lovely photo is by © copyright  Stuart Phoenix on Flickr, without permission.

This is a bit way back, from July this year, but having followed the debate and the problems folks had in the Army, as opposed to RAF and Navy, this is such great news that even after a few months it is still worth posting about.

Army service personnel allowed for the first time to march in uniform at the London Gay Pride March 08.

Last year the Army was not allowed yet, as opposed to the RAF and the Navy, and it seems the chaps and chapesses marched in jeans and red t-shirts instead. Absolutely shocking, that, and I followed the debate, especially on the Proud2serve forum, regarding the permission to march in uniform for the Army. I am glad that 2008 saw a change in policy if not, necessarily, in attitude. But these official steps are what will eventually win hearts and minds over. Institutions as “crusty” and traditional as the Forces have to change from the top down, because from the bottom up or the inside out is most likely not going to work. Thus policies, legislation, rules and regulations are required.

Looking on YouTube it is quite amusing to see the straight-laced marching of service pesonnel, but then they were told by the MOD they weren’t allowed to do “hijinks”.

Photo © copyright by Pat Ricio on Flickr, without permission.

By the way, Mr Marquesate just told me that several service personnel were tasked to go to the London Pride 08, not to march but to cheer and to show the face of the Forces. Apparently those folks were straight and some weren’t comfortable, and I do worry about the notion of “forced cheer”, but alas, I reserve judgement until I know more. Ach well, a soldier has to function even in adversity, aye? 😉 (tongue in cheek!)

Proud2Serve has a lovely photo pool of the 08 march on Flickr.

Now this is an interesting one. The French Foreign legion is a part of the French Military Forces, simple as that, and thus governed by the same rules, regulations, policies and legislation, you might think. But what are those policies?

It’s not that easy. (Photo copyright © Defence Image Database, without permission.)

It was rather difficult to find out the official stance. Granted, this was not helped by my French being rather basic these days, but even asking a French speaker for help did not yield much better information.

France, like many European countries legalises homosexual partnerships in a civil partnership, similar to Britain. Thus a ban on homosexuality in the Forces does not appear to be logical nor legal, and, in fact, is not in place. However, the wording is quite peculiar. On 5 May 2000 The Independent stated:

FRANCE’S ARMED forces will accept homosexuals into its ranks provided they do not attempt to “convert” others. A defence ministry spokesman said yesterday: “We have no intention of introducing recruiting criteria that would take into account the personal practices of individuals.”

What, exactly, is meant with “convert”? This is the most infuriating thing I have read in a while. But let’s not go there, because if I do I’ll end up in a rant and that’s not what I set out to do.

We are getting closer to the matter in an article from 2004 by glbtq, Inc. which I quote in another post on attitudes towards homosexuality in European Military Forces.

Countries with Laissez-faire Homosexual Policies

Scholars describe France and Belgium as countries that have adopted laissez-faire approaches to homosexual personnel. That is, they do not officially exclude them, but they also do not explicitly guarantee their right to serve.

In France, indifference characterizes the official attitude towards homosexuals in the military. Although homosexuals are not banned from French military service, it is recognized that they may face greater challenges than their heterosexual counterparts. Thus, they are allowed to opt out of military service if they wish by declaring themselves unfit because of their sexual orientation.

Commanders and psychiatrists can also discharge gay and lesbian personnel if they feel they are disrupting their units and cannot fit in.

There we have the crux of the matter. France leaves itself wide open for abuse – and for court cases, and I hope the latter is exactly what will happen to them, just like it did in Britain. This means, when looking at the wording, that France does not discharge people for their sexual orientation but for disrupting their units, which is a very clever wording that gives them basically the right to come up with any excuse and chuck anyone out they wish to, by claiming it wasn’t the sexual orientation, but the “disruption”. And pray, tell, what exactly is meant by that? Also, since being gay is accepted as an excuse for not getting drafted (France has National Service like Germany), homosexuals would be in two minds about attacking the policy. As a friend put it: “Typical French. Eat your cake and have it too!”

Britain, which might not be an inclusive environment inside the military, particularly in the army and in the teeth arms (tank regiments, infantry, Royal Marines, SAS, etc), France with it’s “laissez faire” leaves the matter wide open for abuse. In Britain there is a zero tolerance policy and a whole host of equality and diversity policies and a code of conduct that governs every inch of a soldier’s professional – and personal – existence, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. I explored the official stance in a post. And there are doubtlessly instances where derogatory remarks such as “you hold your rifle like a faggot” are being pursued and prosecuted/stopped. I explore this in an insider view.

Getting back to the French Foreign legion, after careful internet searches and translation help I have learned that homosexuality is not only actively discouraged during the recruitment process, but that a soldier is discharged should it be found out that he is gay. Which might be a disaster for the individual, because it leaves them without any recommendation and a black mark on their personal records through omission and thus serious difficulties in finding further employment (as explained in a personal blog post by an actual Legionnaire – to which I shall not link)

Somebody else “in the know” posted the following regarding the recruitment process (in French, this is a translation): “It’s not officially written but at the recruitment interview you get refused [if you are openly gay] and the recruiters make sure people know that, so gays don’t try to join.”

There you have it, homosexuality is not accepted in the French Foreign Legion.

Now, will someone please go and write some good stories?

In January 2000 the ban on homosexuals in the British Forces was repelled. The statement by Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP to the House of Commons, 12 January 2000 states:

As all personal behaviour will be regulated by the Code of Conduct with the object of maintaining the operational effectiveness of the three Services, there is no longer a reason to deny homosexuals the opportunity of a career in the Armed Forces. Accordingly, we have decided that it is right that the existing ban should be lifted. As no primary or secondary legislation is required, with effect from today, homosexuality will no longer be a bar to service in Britain’s Armed Forces.

Having done a lot of research over the years – and living with the living research object, so to speak 😉 – I thought some posts on the UK Forces’ Equality and Diversity Policy might be of interest. Here is the official view, I shall be posting about some insider view later.

(Flag image from MOD LGBT Forum website, for review purposes)

Thanks to the Freedom of Information ACT (FOI) the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is required to have all policies and documentation out in the open, unless, obviously, it is sensitive information.

Like in all European Armed Forces (please correct me if I am wrong) neither race, gender nor sexuality bars anyone from joining the Services. Granted, the UK Teeth Arms (fighting units: Infantry, Royal Marines, tank regiments, etc) don’t allow women but let’s not go there for now “on the ground of combat effectiveness”, that is a post for another time, oh yes.

Here are some questions from the MOD Equal Opportunities FAQ

Can homosexuals join the Services?
Yes. For more information please see the “Armed Forces Code of Social Conduct” and the “Unified Diversity Strategy”.

An explanation of the importance of these documents is given in the MOD’s policy on homosexuality (2000/01)

The “Armed Forces Code of Social Conduct” sets out a policy based on behaviour and whether an individual’s conduct may impact adversely on the cohesion, efficiency or operational effectiveness of the Service. In setting out this policy, no account or distinction is made on the basis of the individual’s gender or sexual orientation, which is taken to be a private matter for the individual. The Code of Social Conduct is based on an assessment of the potential or actual impact of social conduct on operational effectiveness and, as a start point, operates on the principle that the Services will only interfere in an individual’s private life where the actions or behaviour of an individual have adversely impacted, or are they likely to impact, on the efficiency or operational effectiveness of the Service. It therefore recognises an individuals right to a private life in line with the intent of Article 8 of the HRA.

Armed Forces Code of Social Conduct

Unified Diversity Strategy

I am a transsexual; is it possible for me to join?
Yes. There is no bar to the employment of transsexuals in the Armed Forces, subject to them satisfying the normal medical requirements.

Are you looking for applications from all ethnic groups?
Very much so. We want to see the Services reflect more closely the ethnic diversity of our society.

Last but not least, the legislation came in faster than Parliament had planned, because the MOD’s hand had been forced:

When the present administration assumed office in May 1997, it made clear that the policy would be reviewed in the lifetime of this Parliament. At that time it was anticipated that the Armed Forces Bill in 2000/01 would be a convenient framework for Parliamentary debate [and free vote on the issue]. However, following the announcement on 27 September 1999 of the judgement by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the MOD in the cases brought by four homosexual ex-Service personnel (Lustig-Prean, Beckett, Smith and Grady), there was an urgent need to review existing policy on the employment of homosexuals in the UK Armed Forces. The Court ruled that all four applicants had their rights violated in respect of Article 8, the right to respect for private life, and further ruled in the case of two of them that their rights had also been violated under Article 13, the right to an effective domestic remedy.

Information from Proud2Serve.